Welcome to the debut edition of "Dairy Good Questions", a new midweek feature in which I answer 2-3 questions people have asked about my farm or the dairy industry. Let's get right to it:
DGQ #1) "Will, do you have a favorite cow?" (via Whit Macknally)
Answer: As a matter of fact, I do: Gilmer Dairy Farm cow number 859. She's big and tall, she's a good milker, she's as laid-back as a cow can be without being overly stubborn, and she never gives the first bit of trouble in the barn. She might not have strong idiosyncrasies like Ol' Number Sevenhad, but she does have her own spots where she prefers to stand in the barn and isn't shy about moving other cows out of "her" space. And unless she's on her way to eat, she always seems to appreciate a good head-rub.
DGQ #2) "What's the milkfat/butterfat percentage of whole milk?" (via Josh Johnson)
Answer: Some of the milk in your local grocery store is identified specifically by the amount of butterfat it contains, such as 1% and 2% milk. Skim milk contains only traces of butterfat (< 0.5%) or none at all. Whole/Vitamin D milk, on the other hand, often doesn't give a clear indication of its butterfat percentage on the label. The federal minimum butterfat percentage standard for pasteurized whole milk is 3.25%, and most of it retails at or just slightly above this percentage. Exceptions include whole milk sold in California (3.5% minimum) and some brands of "cream line", or non-homogenized, milk. And while you might not find the actual butterfat percentage listed on a jug of whole milk, its nutrition label will include the grams of fat per serving along with information about protein, calcium, vitamins, etc. My advice is to drink whichever bf% milk you enjoy the most and adjust the rest of your diet accordingly, but do take time to compare labels and choose one that fits best within your overall nutritional plan.